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Op-ed: UCLA must uphold values in and out of classroom, condemn genocide of Palestinians

By UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine

Jan. 23, 2024 5:18 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 24 at 9:35 a.m. 

We, UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine, are UCLA faculty members bound together by these core principles. We stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza facing occupation, apartheid and genocidal state violence. We stand with our fellow educators in occupied Palestine who have called for an immediate ceasefire and lifting of the siege to end the blockade of humanitarian aid and allow restoration of access to water, electricity and medicine in Gaza.

We call on the United States to stop funding this occupation, apartheid and ongoing genocide, which is a culmination of 75 years of settler colonial oppression and brutalization of indigenous Palestinians by the occupying Israeli state. In so doing, we refuse the blatant mischaracterization of calls for Palestinian liberation as antisemitism. It is not antisemitic to criticize the Israeli state for its racist and genocidal policies and practices.

UCLA must demonstrate the moral courage to issue a public condemnation of the genocide in Palestine, call for an immediate ceasefire and offer condolences and protection to the campus community who are mourning their loved ones in the Gaza Strip and being subjected to harassment and repression. We condemn the one-sided statements issued by UCLA campus leaders that disregard the humanity and worth of our Palestinian campus community and those engaged in struggle alongside them. We urge UCLA to join the campaign for the academic boycott of and divestment from Israeli institutions.

UCLA must reject pressure from external organizations to investigate, criminalize and suppress Students for Justice in Palestine and anyone in our campus community expressing solidarity with Palestinians. It is essential that UCLA protect the rights of students, faculty and staff to free speech, academic freedom and First Amendment rights, including freedom of assembly. As a matter of principle and alignment with UCLA’s understanding of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion principles, True Bruin Values and nondiscrimination policies, UCLA must offer resources, services and accommodations to the students, faculty and staff affected by the genocide in Palestine and the mounting repression campaigns.

UCLA must adequately investigate reports submitted by the campus community pertaining to anti-Palestinian violence, harassment, repression and doxing; and redress the harm caused to members of the campus community who have thus far and will be subjected to harassment for taking a position against this genocide.

Despite the university’s position and lack of protection, we as UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine choose to condemn racial genocide in our classrooms and the public sphere, support and defend our students and exercise our rights to academic freedom. We reiterate that we believe in justice and freedom for Palestine, are committed to our responsibility as teachers and scholars to teach and produce knowledge about Palestine, and that we stand for a truly inclusive campus and the protection of free speech and academic freedom.

UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine is part of a decentralized, national network of affiliated campus chapters whose faculty and staff members support the cause of Palestinian liberation through education, advocacy and action.

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UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine
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